How Emergency Notifications Work

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After mixed reports about the Jefferson County emergency notification system’s possible glitch, 11 News looked into the El Paso County system to see how it works and who it affects.

Sergeant Mike Schaller with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office (EPSO) told 11 News anyone can sign up, and more than one phone can be registered. It's meant to be a warning of possible danger near our neighborhoods. The EPSO dispatch sends a call to our phones letting us know where the danger is and what's happening.

The danger of a wildfire like the North Folk Fire in Jefferson County is a very real possibility here in Southern Colorado. Dozens of homes have been destroyed and several others damaged. At least two people have already lost their lives. A number of people say they didn't get the call from the emergency notification system.

At the El Paso County Communications Center, they said they take every precaution to make sure everyone who's affected, gets a call.

"The Sheriff’s Office is very proactive in testing the functionality of the system, and we test it once a month," Schaller said.

Schaller said signing up for the notification is the best way to stay informed and keep your family safe. People we talked to weren't signed up, but will be sure to do so now.

"It's very important to get notifications before hand and not after the fact," a Colorado Springs mom said.

The system allows a home phone plus two cell phones per address to be signed up for the emergency calls. You'll be alerted anytime situations come up that threaten life or property, like a wildfire.

The El Paso and Teller County system is voice activated, meaning the message won't begin to play until it hears a voice on the other end of the emergency notification call. When it does, the subscriber is asked to press a key to hear the message play. After the message, the system also offers an opportunity to play the message again.

If the buttons are not pressed because a voicemail system answered the call, the emergency notification system waits 7 seconds to get around the entire voicemail greeting before leaving a message.

In most cases home phones and land-lines are already connected to the system, but officials said you may want to double check with your phone provider.